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Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week: Signs you might be struggling and where to go for help

01 May 24

This week is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week which is dedicated to talking about mental health problems before, during and after pregnancy.

HPFT has a community perinatal team that aims to help women stay as well as possible in the perinatal period and provides support and information to partners and families of women under the care of the service, as well as other professionals involved in their care.

HPFT also has a specialist in-patient unit, Thumbswood, which offers treatment to women experiencing significant mental health difficulties during pregnancy or if they have a baby less than 12 months of age. The aim is to provide a safe and therapeutic environment where women can receive care and treatment without being separated from their babies.

Difficulties mums may face include postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis, anxiety, birth trauma, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

We spoke to Lisa Sibanda, Charge Nurse at Thumbswood Mother and Baby Unit who provided some advice for mums on signs to looks out for if they are struggling and where they might go for help.

“There are different signs to look out for such as if you are restless and can’t sleep, struggling to take care of yourself or not enjoying things you normally do. You may think people are talking about you or the television is talking to you – all of these are signs that you may need some support.

“The good news is that there are things you can do to help yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – build up a good support network of family and friends and get yourself and your baby into a routine. Try and sleep when the baby does. Take time to have a warm bath, grab a coffee or watch a movie and take some exercise. It is good to get some fresh air. Take the baby or dog out for a walk. Also speak to your health visitor who may be able to recommend other baby groups you can join.

“You may also find organisations such as MIND, Netmums and Homestart helpful to reach out to.”

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